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12.24.2012by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Best Cameos of 2012

The celebrity cameo can be a tedious exercise in a film as it often distracts from the story or doesn't quite work as anticipated. These ten films feature the best cameos of 2012. Some are integral to their films while others are nice little bonuses that we did not see coming. In the end, all of them are better examples of how to feature celebrities in your movies, whether playing roles written for them or just being exaggerated versions of themselves. WARNING: This list will contain spoilers if you have not seen the films. If you can think of any that we missed, let us know in the talk backs below.

#10 - Stan Lee in THE AVENGERS

Stan Lee has appeared in almost every Marvel film made so far and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he appeared in two scenes in THE AVENGERS, one of which ended up as a deleted scene on the Blu-ray. The one that did make it in had Lee scoffing at the idea of superheroes in New York, which as we all know is ludicrous. Lee's cameos are never subtle and always take away from the action and flow of the movie, but I would rather know the creators want to be involved in their projects rather than stand back and let the studios do whatever they want.

#9 - Howard Stern in MEN IN BLACK III

MEN IN BLACK has always used celebrity cameos to punch up the "aliens are everywhere" element to the story. While nothing will top Michael Jackson's cameo in MEN IN BLACK II, the appearance of Howard Stern and Lady Gaga in MIB3 certainly remains one of the few highlights of the film. The fact that they appear for a total of 5 seconds between the two should also tell you how good of a movie it was.

#8 - Chuck Norris in THE EXPENDABLES 2

Chuck Norris got his own poster and billing for THE EXPENDABLES 2 for what amounts to a couple of minutes of screen time. His character, Booker, pops up like a deus ex machine to save Stallone and company from certain death, conveniently shares plot details to help them stop Van Damme's villain character, and then walks off and out of the movie. I know Norris is old and not quite what he used to be, but he definitely makes his presence felt for those few minutes. I hope if he comes back for the third that he spends a little more time getting in on the action.

#7 - Alice Cooper in DARK SHADOWS

Alice Cooper's apperance in DARK SHADOWS is not a random appearance as part of the story hinges on him showing up at a party thrown by the Collins family at their estate. But, even with the film taking place 40 years ago, Cooper still looks like he fits right in. DARK SHADOWS may not have been a perfect movie but it was a hell of a lot of fun. Cooper loves movies and is not above poking fun at himself. Add this to his great cameo in WAYNE'S WORLD in the annals of celebrity film appearances.

#6 - Sigourney Weaver in CABIN IN THE WOODS

CABIN IN THE WOODS was so full of surprises, it should have not come as a shock to see someone of Sigourney Weaver's stature being a part of those controlling the events of the film. Weaver has a presence that has changed over the years from ass-kicker in ALIENS to something else. I don't know if now that she is older she comes across more as a matriarch you don't want to f*ck with, but she definitely commands respect. In a movie as batshit crazy as CABIN IN THE WOODS, Weaver fits right in.

#5 - Franco Nero in DJANGO UNCHAINED

How could Quentin Tarantino make a movie with DJANGO in the title and not have the original Django make an appearance? Franco Nero is synonymous with the name from his starring role in the series of spaghetti westerns. Many actors have played the role over the years, but Nero is the one everyone associates with the films. We get a glimpse at his interaction with Jamie Foxx in the trailer for DJANGO UNCHAINED, but his role is clearly not that of a hero in Tarantino's southern. Nero also made a cameo in last year's CARS 2. Maybe he will benefit from Tarantino's magic touch and kick off a resurgence in his roles here in America.

#4 - Cillian Murphy in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Both Ras Al Ghul and the Scarecrow make cameos in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, but it is Cillian Murphy's return that fits the best and makes the most sense. With Bane releasing everyone from Arkham and taking over Gotham City, it only seems fitting that Dr. Crane would preside over the new "justice" system. There was always a line between Crane's madness and sanity that blurred. He never quite became a major player in any of the three Nolan films, but it was nice to see him play a part in each chapter of the trilogy.

#3 - Sam Jones in TED

FLASH GORDON is a recurring plot device in TED that made me smile. The cheezy cult classic holds a place in my heart as it does for Mark Wahlberg and his teddy bear buddy. But, when FLASH himself, Sam Jones, appears at a party in the movie, the main characters are as shocked as I was. Jones bore the trademark blonde hair and played along with the goofy magic of the story. Seeing Flash snort cocaine and eventually end up with Brandon Routh (don't ask) made for one of the funniest cameos of the year.

#2 - Stan Lee in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

This is my favorite Stan Lee cameo of all time. Unlike every other appearance, Lee's cameo actually feels natural and within the flow of the story. He doesn't have to utter a sarcastic one-liner or be forced into a role that doesn't fit just to have him show up. Here he plays an oblivious librarian who has no idea a major battle between Spider-man and the Lizard is happening right behind him. It works without disrupting the film and makes for a nice chuckle in the middle of an action set piece. I hope Marvel takes a cue for their Phase Two movies and do a better job of working Lee into the context of the movie.

#1 - Johnny Depp & Peter DeLuise in 21 JUMP STREET

We all were hoping this would happen and it did. You don't find out until almost the end of the movie but there are Peter DeLuise and Johnny Depp appearing as their 21 JUMP STREET characters. When they reveal themselves, I thought it would result in a team up with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum but instead turns into the funniest bloodbath I have seen in a long time. It takes balls to kill of Johnny Depp in your movie, but when he gets to let lose and make fun of himself it is all the more worth it. Best cameo of the year.

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